South Mountain Reservation
South Mountain Reservation is an Essex County, N.J. park. It was one of the first to be planned by the Essex County Park Commission, which acquired much of the land in the late 19th century. The landscape design was largely created by the Olmsted Brothers, descendents of Frederick Law Olmsted, famed creator of New York’s central park. Much of the work on the park was done during the depression by the Civilian Conservation Core, part of the New Deal.
Long before it became South Mountain Reservation, this area had a small place in early U.S. history for its role in the American Revolution. It was one of the sites where Washington had installed beacons to track the movement of British troops. In 1780 the beacon atop what would come to be called Washington Rock signaled to Washington that the Brits were advancing toward his encampment in Morristown. The same location later served as a lookout during the War of 1812.
The bright yellow trail markers signal the Lenape Trail, a 24-mile trail that starts at Military Park in Newark and goes through numerous Newark suburbs and to South Mountain Reservation. The trail is 30% street. It is unique in that it goes along city streets and through residential neighborhoods as well as undeveloped areas like the ones shown here.